Following the years of Troy and Göbeklitepe in 2018 and 2019, respectively, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry declared 2020 as the Year of Patara, the ancient city where St. Nicholas was born. Now, the ministry will promote the ancient city in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş District.
The head of the Patara ancient city excavations, Professor Havva İşkan Işık stated that Patara Ancient City is a spiral of history that continues with little interruption until today. “This is one of the most special cities of Anatolia, the cradle of civilizations,” she said.
The head of the Department of Archeology at Akdeniz University Faculty of Letters, Işık spoke about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent announcement of 2020 as the “Year of Patara,” saying that she believed the decision would have an important contribution to tourism.
Stating that 300,000 people visited the ancient city last year, Işık said that they expected this number to reach 1 million in 2020 with this decision.
Işık stated that the Lycian League, which consisted of 23 cities in the middle of the 1st century B.C., was dominant in the region extending from Fethiye to Antalya on the Teke Peninsula, and that then Lycians had a unique culture in Anatolia.
Explaining that St. Nicholas, more popularly known as “Santa Claus,” the bishop of the ancient city of Myra, was born in Patara, she said, “He took religion education here. Patara’s history continues uninterruptedly. Cem Sultan met with the people of Rhodes at Patara Harbor upon the order of his father Fatih Sultan Mehmet. A wireless telegraph station was built here by the order of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II. We are in a historical spiral that continues with very few interruptions until today. This is the cradle of civilizations, one of the most special cities of Anatolia. We don’t always encounter a city with these standards. Hopefully it will be on the UNESCO Heritage List.”
Işık said that Patara has many works apart from being the capital, adding, “The assembly building of the Lycian League is here. The lighthouse is waiting to be revived. We have completed the project work. I hope it will start this year. It is a very important city with its theater, the bath built by Emperor Neron, and road guide monument, which is unique in the world.”
“There are 13 churches in the city. It is also very important in the history of Christianity. It was the gateway of Lycia to the world with its port and sea trade.”
Stressing the Anatolian culture is completely unique, Işık said, “Everything we know in the name of civilization in the world has been created in this region. With Göbeklitepe, Troia and Patara, Anatolia is a geography producing civilizations.”
Hurriyet Daily News